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The Mobilizing Role Player: Stepping up in Kevin Alas’ Absence to Lead NLEX’s Rally in PBA

MANILA, Philippines—The sense of urgency is high in the NLEX camp, especially now that they will miss the services of star player Kevin Alas until the foreseeable future.

So when the Road Warriors’ role players stepped up in the squad’s 112-104 win over Northport in the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, coach Frankie Lim was thoroughly satisfied. Of course, he’d still want to see more from his boys, particularly in the one position.

“I think Rob Herndon did very well and same with Don (Trollano) and Richie Rodgers. Solid game from them and they just have to step up more because we also don’t have Matt Nieto now. I think my guards have to step up like Hesed Gabo, he had some time playing the point,” said Lim in Filipino.

Alas has been ruled out of the season after suffering his third torn ACL injury while Nieto is currently recovering from Covid.

Hence, the Road Warriors had to rely on their plethora of players from the bench to notch the victory that put them at 2-2.

Even Thomas Robinson, who finished with a double-double of 30 points and 18 rebounds, had to laud his fellow teammates. Their efforts, he said, made his job easier for him to turn in a well-rounded game.

“They’re doing great. They all played great, everybody stepped up and played bigger roles so I’m proud of Kris and all the other guys,” said Robinson cooly, even after the post-game altercation between him and Northport team manager, Pido Jarencio.

“They always make my job easier, all my teammates do.”

TROLLANO LEADS THE WAY

In terms of “stepping up” for NLEX, none had a better game than Don Trollano, who finished with 29 points to make up for the loss of Alas’ scoring prowess.
“I wanted Don to get started early to get his rhythm and it’s good because once his first few shots fall, it keeps going. He’s really a streaky shooter. He helped us a lot especially in the first quarter, he had a high percentage,” said Lim. Trollano heated up early for the Road Warriors, pouring in 18 of his points in the opening period alone. All in all, he registered a blistering 55.5 percent shooting clip from the field after sinking 11 of his 20 shots —four of those coming from beyond the arc.

When asked, if he feels pressured to fill the injured NLEX star’s role in the team, Trollano reiterated that he was “overwhelmed” but team effort will be key to their wins and not individual stats.
“[I’m] overwhelmed but I’m not the only one who should step up. Everyone needs to do the same because we lost a big part of the offense. Kevin puts in 18 points per game and that’s a huge spot that all of us need to fill so we all should step up,” said Trollano in Filipino.